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THE SITUATION ROOM

Ohio State Attack; Interview With Oklahoma Senator James Lankford; Interview With Delaware Senator Chris Coons; Trump Transition Chaos?; Trump Falsely Claims Millions Voted Illegally; Trump in Talks to Save U.S. Jobs, Deliver on Promise. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 28, 2016 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[18:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Is retired General David Petraeus now a top contender after adviser Kellyanne Conway publicly bashed Mitt Romney?

Tweeting vote. There's growing outrage tonight over the future commander in chief's baseless claim that million of ballots were cast illegally, costing him the popular vote, even as he slams recount efforts as ridiculous and a scam.

And daring Carrier. Trump's negotiating skills are being put to the test, as he tries to prevent hundreds of U.S. jobs from moving to Mexico. Will the Carrier company that Trump repeatedly criticized help him make good on a campaign promise?

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We're following multiple breaking stories, including that brutal attack at Ohio State University.

Sources now telling CNN that a Facebook page that apparently belonged to the attacker included grievances about attacks on Muslims. Tonight, we also know the attacker was an OSU named Abdul Razak Ali Artan. A federal law enforcement official tells CNN he was 18 years old, of Somali descent and a legal U.S. resident.

Authorities say he rammed his car into a group of pedestrians standing on a sidewalk and then used a butcher knife to cut several people before he was killed by a police officer. Many students barricaded themselves in classrooms as the attack played out -- 11 victims were hospitalized.

Tonight, investigators are searching for a motive, including the possibility this was a premeditated act of terrorism.

Also breaking, President-elect Donald Trump says he was very impressed by retired General David Petraeus during their meeting over at Trump Tower just a little while ago. Petraeus is reportedly under consideration for the job of secretary of state. We're told Trump is irritated that his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is warning of a backlash if he nominates Mitt Romney to that post.

Also tonight, Donald Trump is officially declared the winner of Michigan as efforts intensify for a recount in that state as well as in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump is rejecting the recount campaign a scam, even as he now is making a stunning allegation of voter fraud without any evidence to back it up.

Trump tweeting that he actually would have won the popular vote if millions, millions of ballots hadn't been cast illegally in the most recent presidential contest. We will talk about the breaking news with two U.S. senators on key committees, Republican James Lankford and Democrat Chris Coons.

Our correspondents, analysts and guests, they are also standing by. We will bring you full coverage of the day's top stories.

Up first, let's go to CNN's Brynn Gingras. She's got more on the attack at Ohio State University.

What are you learning, Brynn?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, right now, investigators are just going through all of that evidence, among them, what you just mentioned, that Facebook post, according to federal law enforcement officials, that Artan expressed some grievances about recent attacks on Muslims.

We also know from cameras that are all around this campus that he arrived here in a car alone. We actually saw that car being towed away with a police escort just a short time ago. We also know from officials that they are questioning people that may have known him or had any sort of acquaintance with him.

We know that his mother actually spoke to a community member and said he was recently complaining about school and about his grades. We also know that community members said that he was a good kid. All of this, though, a part of the investigation to determine exactly why he may have done this and if terrorism was a reason.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GINGRAS (voice-over): Tonight, university police naming the suspected attacker as OSU student Abdul Razak Ali Artan. A federal law enforcement official tells CNN he was an 18-year-old Somali citizen who lived in the area. A U.S. official says he was a legal permanent resident.

Investigators are still working on determining motive and can't rule out terror at this point.

KIM JACOBS, COLUMBUS, OHIO, POLICE CHIEF: We have to consider that it is that possibility. You know, we had an attack earlier this year with a man with a knife causing multiple injuries. So we're always aware that that's a potential. And we're going to continue to look at that. That's why our federal partners are here and helping. GINGRAS: Police say the attacker deliberately jumped a curb with a

car and rammed into a group of pedestrians. A federal official tells CNN the car used in the attack was registered to a family member.

MONICA MOLL, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY: Around 9:52 a.m., the emergency dispatch center got a report that a vehicle had struck pedestrians.

GINGRAS: He then continued to attack, slashing people with a knife.

CRAIG STONE, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY POLICE CHIEF: He exited the vehicle and used a butcher knife to start cutting pedestrians.

[18:05:03]

GINGRAS: Less than a minute later, the attacker was confronted by a police officer.

STONE: He engaged the suspect and he eliminated the threat. The suspect is DOA.

GINGRAS: Within minutes of the attack, a campus-wide alert went out reporting an active shooter on campus, "Run, hide, fight."

A federal law enforcement officials tells CNN the gunshots reported may have been of the police officer shooting the attacker.

Our campus, students and faculty blocked doorways and hid while waiting for the all-clear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our teacher ran in and locked the door. And at the same time, we all saw a ton of -- we heard bunch of sirens and a bunch of like cop cars all just started flooding towards that area.

RACHEL LEMASTER, WITNESS: It's scary. It was really scary. We barricaded ourselves in our rooms like we were taught, turned off our lights, and just hunkered down.

GINGRAS: At least 10 people were injured in the attack. None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GINGRAS: And non-life-threatening injuries, Wolf, a majority of that credited due to a campus police officer, 28-year-old Alan Horujko, who actually used to be a student here at OSU.

Authorities say he was just in the right place at the right time, but he also acted quickly, taking action just under one minute, likely saving lives there. Also want to mention, Wolf, that authorities right now conducting a search warrant of the suspect's home -- back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Brynn Gingras on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

We're just getting in the first photo now that we have received of the assailant in this particular case,. There you see him, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, this picture coming from "The Lantern," the Ohio State University student newspaper. There you see him right there, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, 18 years old.

He used a vehicle to plow into a crowd. Previous article, by the way, in the student newspaper, not a current article or anything along those lines. But he then used the knife to go after students and others on the campus of Ohio State University.

Let's talk about the breaking news with Republican Senator James Lankford. He's a top member of the Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees.

Senator, thanks very much for joining us.

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R), OKLAHOMA: Yes. I'm glad to be with you.

BLITZER: So, I know you have been briefed with what's going on. You're a member of these key committees.

Do you think this was a deliberate act of terror?

LANKFORD: Yes, it's unknown still at this time. I would say that the initial thing for me is we have to learn a lot more.

But, typically, if it's an ISIS terrorist in particular, right before they carry out the attack, the last post that they put on their Facebook page is a pledge of allegiance to ISIS, is the ISIS flag and they carry out the attack.

We find now or we're hearing that, on the Facebook page, there are some comments about it. Doesn't tend to lend towards the typical mode for ISIS. So we will see in the days ahead there.

BLITZER: The Facebook page believed be that of the assailant in this case included grievances about attacks on Muslims around the world. That was apparently the headline coming out of the Facebook post.

LANKFORD: That makes a big difference if it's the last post or if it's some post that is buried down. And we will have to see what that is.

BLITZER: Apparently, this was the last post on this Facebook page.

LANKFORD: If it's the last post, that's pretty telling.

BLITZER: Pretty telling of what?

LANKFORD: Pretty telling of a terrorist act, because that's been the mode.

If you go back to San Bernardino and the attacks there, if you go back to Orlando and the attacks there, multiple other locations, the last thing they will post is a pledge of allegiance to ISIS or to some connection with international terrorist groups that we know of, or to some complaints about what's happening, and then they will carry out their act of terrorism.

There is no advanced warning for most lone wolf attacks. They live among us. They're operating, they're planning, and then they will post and then carry out their attack.

BLITZER: They could be inspired by what they have seen on social media.

LANKFORD: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Or they could be instructed by someone. Presumably, the FBI, local law enforcement, they are going through all this guy's records to see if there was any linkage, direct linkage to ISIS, AQAP, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or some other terror group.

LANKFORD: That's correct.

Yes, they're a big difference between inspired and directed. They both end up the same damage to individuals that are here. But if you have individuals that are in Syria or in the Arabian Peninsula directly communicating, whether that be through a means that is encrypted or through an open series, to be able to instruct them or someone that's just inspired, said, I have watched YouTube videos of certain different clerics and I'm inspired to be able to carry out attacks, both of them still have the same result, but you find a very different connection point, I guess, to that.

BLITZER: It's going to cause a lot of concern out there.

And I will give you the tweet that the national security adviser- designate for the president-elect, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn -- he tweeted this earlier this year. "Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL" -- rational all caps -- "Please forward this to others. The truth fears no questions."

Is that kind of rhetoric appropriate?

LANKFORD: That kind of rhetoric is difficult, because you have got Muslim neighbors, you have got individuals that you're around, that go to school with you.

It's not just that you're afraid of all Muslims. It's just the reality that there are some individuals, as we have seen in these other lone wolf attacks, that do live in neighborhoods and then that suddenly go active in whatever means that that may be at that point.

[18:10:05]

So, there is a rational sense of it, but it's irrational just to be afraid of every person that you're around just based on their faith.

BLITZER: He was interviewed by the school newspaper. And we showed the picture of this individual, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the 18-year- old, Somali, permanent resident of the United States.

There you see it. He says in this article that appeared not that long ago: "I just transferred from Columbus State Community College. We had prayer rooms, like actual rooms where we could go to pray because we Muslims have to pray five times a day."

Then he goes and says this. He says: "I wanted to pray in the open, but I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media. I'm a Muslim. It's not what the media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim, praying, I don't know what they're going to think what's going to happen. But I don't blame them."

That's what he said earlier in this article in August, not that long ago, in the student newspaper at Ohio State University. So clearly he was very sensitive to being a Muslim and going out and praying in the open.

LANKFORD: Right.

And you are still in the same situation there. He's sensitive, saying don't judge me that I'm a terrorist because I want to pray in the open or because I'm a Muslim, and then months later, he gets a knife and a car and he attacks people. We will have to find out a lot of motive there, but that's very chilling to be able to see the side-by-side.

BLITZER: Are you concerned that some the rhetoric that's come out during this political season has been so disturbing that an individual like this who says I'm afraid to pray in public because he's a Muslim could obviously, as we saw him today, go off the deep end, if you will, take a vehicle, a regular vehicle, plow into a sidewalk where there's a bunch of people standing by, and start wanting to kill them, and then stop the vehicle, jump out with a butcher's knife, as it's been described, some have said it's a machete, and just starting to slash individuals?

LANKFORD: Yes, nothing clearly in any of our political rhetoric would ever, ever justify something like this.

BLITZER: Nothing could ever justify it.

LANKFORD: Or would ever inspire it in that sense.

If you have individuals in whatever political conversation it may be to say there's agreement, disagreement, like, don't like, that doesn't engage people to say suddenly you don't like me, and so I'm going to suddenly go kill people because you don't like me.

That reinforces the stereotype that they say everyone should be opposed to. So at the end of the day, we will have to find out a lot more about why he would carry this out. But I don't see anything in our political campaign that should cause Muslims to suddenly go kill people.

BLITZER: During the campaign, Donald Trump said it would be appropriate to survey mosques. Is that appropriate?

LANKFORD: It would be only if you have got a cleric that is in situation that is trying to actively inspire people to engage in some sort of hate or some sort of attack or some sort of violence. If you have got someone that is actively trying to engage and say you should go carry these things out, that would be entirely appropriate, because you have got to figure out, why are people drawn to this particular leader and what are they trying to inspire?

But to just go participate in every mosque and be able to do surveillance on them, no, that's not appropriate.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Because, as you know, ISIS, AQAP, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, other terror groups, they have said if you don't have a gun, get a knife. If you don't have knife, just take a vehicle and start killing infidels, if you will. That's what you have got to do.

They have made the suggestion in social media. You have seen that.

LANKFORD: Absolutely, I have.

And that is the most difficult about dealing with a lone wolf attack or dealing either inspiration or direction from overseas. You can go all the way back to a conversation you and I had two years ago about individuals from Syria contacting someone in Phoenix and saying there's an event in Garland, Texas. They hate Muslims, you should go kill them.

They left out -- no one had any idea, any perspective from them, drove from Arizona to Garland, Texas. Took out guns there. And if it was not for Texas law enforcement meeting them there, we would all be talking about a bloodbath that would have happened in Garland, Texas.

That was an individual living in the community that was directed by someone overseas that went and carried that out. That is the most difficult part about this.

BLITZER: And once again, we don't know if this individual may have been inspired or may have been directed or may have simply been mentally ill, if you will, and went ahead and did what he did. But we're going to get more information very soon.

LANKFORD: We don't know. That's correct.

BLITZER: By the way, I want to thank you for this report. And you have a copy of the report. You just put out a federal fumbles, billions and billions of dollars in wasted money that the federal government engages in. And people can go read that. Right?

LANKFORD: They can. They can go to my Web site, just Lankford.Senate.gov, and be able to identify it.

Every year, we put out a list of 100. It's not exhaustive of all the areas of federal waste, but we try to examine multiple different agencies. And we don't just examine waste, and we don't just examine regulations, but we try to look at where is the source of this and how do you fix it? With my team, we always talk about it. When we're at home, when we're

at breakfast with people, we can sit and complain about waste. With our job, and our task, we have find ways to fix it. So in every one of those areas, we identify here's the waste or here's the problem with regulation, here's how to actually fix it.

And then we try to work towards that. And from last year's guide, we come back and look at it for this year and say here are the areas that we fixed over the last year, because there's a great deal that has to be done still.

[18:15:02]

BLITZER: Thanks for doing this, because I keep hearing for years and years waste, fraud, abuse. Rarely does much happen about it, but hopefully something will happen about it.

LANKFORD: We can fix it. We take it on one at a time.

BLITZER: Senator Lankford, thanks so much for joining us.

LANKFORD: Thanks.

BLITZER: Coming up, I will speak with Democratic Senator Chris Coons. He's got thoughts on what's going on.

Also, we will have more on the breaking news, including new information about that young attacker, 18-year-old killed by police at Ohio State University.

Plus, the Trump team fighting over who should become the next secretary of state. Does the president-elect have a new favorite tonight?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:20:00]

BLITZER: There's breaking news tonight, new talks and growing tension as Donald Trump works to fill the crucial job of secretary of state.

The president-elect met with retired General, former CIA Director David Petraeus just a little while ago, tweeting that he was very impressed with Petraeus. Petraeus is emerging as a contender, as team Trump battles over the possibility that the top diplomatic post could go to Mitt Romney.

CNN's Phil Mattingly has more on what's going on.

Phil, the internal squabbles are very public right now.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Wolf.

The idea that advisers would have strong feelings one way or the other about who the president-elect may choose for his Cabinet, that not a surprise at all. That those opinions would come out publicly from the own mouths of his advisers, yes, that's not really normal.

But it underscores most importantly there is very real opposition to a very real leading contender for secretary of state, Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Tonight, a stunningly public fight being waged among president-elect Trump's top aides for who should be his secretary of state.

Mitt Romney, 2012 nominee and ardent Trump critic, still in the running, despite a public campaign against him led by Trump's advisers and surrogates.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: I'm all for party unity, but I'm not sure that we have to pay for that with the secretary of state position. I'm just saying that we don't even know if Mitt Romney voted for Donald Trump.

REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), NEW YORK: I know that he is a self-serving egomaniac who puts himself first, who has a chip on his shoulder, that thinks he should be president of the United States.

MATTINGLY: Aides say the public back and forth has -- quote -- "irritated" the president-elect, who remains in the midst of intense deliberations over the makeup of his first Cabinet.

JASON MILLER, TRUMP ADVISER: The president-elect is the one person who will be making the decisions here. This is his administration and his government that he's putting together, and he's going through a very detailed and thorough interview process for all the key positions.

And when he is ready and 100 percent decided, then he will go and make that public.

MATTINGLY: Romney is scheduled to meet Trump Tuesday, along with another candidate, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker.

But another entrant into the sweepstakes sat down privately with Trump today, retired general and former CIA Director David Petraeus, once a highly sought after official whose government career imploded amidst revelations he had an extramarital affair with his biographer and shared classified documents with her.

Petraeus was sentenced to two years' probation, avoiding jail time as part of the plea deal, in which he admitted having shared classified information and having made false statements to the FBI.

DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: The meeting went very well. I was with him for about an hour. He basically walked us around the world, showed a great grasp of a variety of the challenges that are out there, and some of the opportunities as well. So, very good conversation. We will see where it goes from here.

MATTINGLY: For now, aides say, the president-elect continues to weigh all options.

MILLER: The president-elect is really taking these meetings very seriously. He wants to make sure that he's making the absolute best decision for all of the different positions.

MATTINGLY: Including close adviser and one-time clear front-runner Rudy Giuliani, but the secretary of state position far from the only decision outstanding. The president-elect on Monday continuing to roll through meetings with potential Cabinet candidates, including Fran Townsend, a potential homeland security secretary, and former BB&T bank CEO John Allison, a treasury secretary candidate.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: And, Wolf, as everybody starts to pay attention or continues to pay attention to the secretary of state race, advisers telling CNN right now that it's likely other Cabinet picks might come first like Treasury, like Homeland Security.

But no question about it, it is that State Department position that all eyes are focused on. As you noted, David Petraeus getting a nod of approval, if you will, Donald Trump tweeting he was very impressed by him. But Mitt Romney, perhaps the most interesting, his meeting tomorrow night will be a private dinner one on one with the president- elect.

Wolf, as you know, that will be the second face-to-face meeting in as many weeks with the president-elect -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, significant moment indeed. Phil Mattingly outside Trump Tower in New York, thank you.

Now to Donald Trump's stunning new claim about a rigged election, despite his victory. He's alleging without any evidence that millions of votes were cast illegally in the presidential contest and that's why he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, this as Trump condemns the push for a recount in several states.

Let's go to our national correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux, who is working the story for us.

Suzanne, another Trump tweet unleashing criticism and concern. Update our viewers.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Election officials, they are calling Trump's claims of millions of illegally cast votes as absurd, reckless and unbecoming of a president-elect. That is just from California's secretary of state.

We have Republican and Democratic members who sit on these bipartisan election boards believing that Trump is making a mockery of an election that he won.

[18:25:05]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MALVEAUX (voice-over): Donald Trump is spreading false claims about the election he won, the president-elect tweeting: "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."

Trump, who now trails Hillary Clinton by more than two million votes in the latest national count, offering no evidence to back up his statement about millions of illegal ballots.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Unbelievable.

MALVEAUX: Echoing themes from his campaign.

TRUMP: It is a rigged system, and be careful with the voting. Be careful with everything.

MALVEAUX: Trump is raising unfounded allegations of voter fraud in three states he lost, tweeting: "Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire, and California. So why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias. Big problem."

Leaders in all three states pushed back, saying their elections were fair. Some Trump allies are urging him to let it go.

COLLINS: He is the president-elect. It is time to move forward.

MALVEAUX: Trump's salvos come as a recount moves forward in Wisconsin, where election officials rebuked the president-elect for casting doubts about the integrity of the voting progress.

MARK THOMSEN, WISCONSIN ELECTIONS COMMISSION CHAIRMAN: Personally, I would like him to come down out of his Trump and spend the time with folks on the ground that are counting these votes. To say that people are counting illegal votes is an insult to the people that run our elections.

MALVEAUX: The bipartisan election commission today signed off on a plan to complete a new statewide tally by mid-December. The recount push is being led by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. But the Clinton campaign is also taking part in the process.

A lawyer for the Clinton campaign saying, it is doing so to ensure that it is fair to all sides, adding that the campaign has found no evidence of hacking of voting systems.

Trump, who currently leads Clinton in the state by more than 20,000 votes out of nearly three million cast, calls the recount a scam.

Wisconsin officials say they are confident that Trump's margin will hold once the recount is finished.

THOMSEN: I fully expect, given the history of how elections are conducted in Wisconsin and their accuracy, and I don't expect that the outcome will be qualitatively different.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MALVEAUX: Today, Michigan's secretary of state announced Trump has officially won that state, bringing Trump's electoral tally to 306 and to -- I should say, Clinton's 232.

Now, Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes. Now Stein is initiating a recount in Pennsylvania and will likely do so for Michigan as well. So far, Trump's transition team has been unable to provide any credible evidence that millions of people voted illegally, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Suzanne, thank you, Suzanne Malveaux reporting.

Let's get a top Democrat's reaction to the recount effort.

We're joined now by Senator Chris Coons of Delaware. He's a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and the Judiciary Committee as well.

Senator, thanks very much for joining us.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Do you support this idea of a recount in those states?

COONS: Well, let's be clear.

What Jill Stein, the presidential candidate from the Green Party is pursuing, and what Donald Trump, the president-elect, has said in his tweets are not the same thing. Now, Jill Stein's taking advantage of existing state laws that allow you to request a recount within a certain period and pay for the costs.

I think she has got her reasons for doing it. I think it's perfectly reasonable. The Clinton campaign is going to have an observer participating. But I don't think it's ultimately going to change the outcome of the election.

On the other hand, president-elect Trump is undermining the whole confidence that the American people have in the election by recklessly tweeting that there are millions of illegal votes that have been cast, something for which there's no credible evidence.

And I will remind you that state and county elected officials, folks of both parties all over this country, administer our electoral system.

BLITZER: Do you believe the presidential election was a free and fair election?

COONS: I do.

BLITZER: So why have a recount?

COONS: I think Jill Stein is pursuing a recount because...

BLITZER: Do you support that idea?

COONS: I think it's a fine thing for her to take advantage of that opportunity.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Doesn't that undermine the credibility of this election if she's saying there were problems in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, I want a recount? She's suggesting that there was a problem there. You don't believe that.

COONS: The Clinton campaign has said so far there's no evidence that they have come across of hacking in this election that might have changed the results.

Remember, there's 100,000 votes that would stand between a Clinton election and a Trump election. And I frankly don't expect these recounts to produce 100,000...

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Because this is exactly the fear. If Hillary Clinton would have won, the Democrats were all afraid that Donald Trump wouldn't accept it, he would demand recounts, and this would go on and on and on.

So it sounds a bit hypocritical to observers who are watching all of this. Why are the Democrats supporting the Green Party candidate Jill Stein's effort to have this recount in these three battleground states?

[18:30:02] COONS Well, to be clear, again, Jill Stein is taking advantage of an existing provision in the law that allows you to ask for a recount and pay for it within a certain period of time.

Donald Trump is undermining the whole concept that this was a free and fair election by suggesting that literally millions of illegal votes were cast, for which there is absolutely no evidence.

BLITZER: But I guess the whole notion, though, is what Trump is saying, we have -- there's no basis in truth that millions of voters voted illegally in this most recent presidential election.

But I'm still having trouble understanding why Hillary Clinton's campaign, why other Democrats, including you, Senator, are saying, "You know what? Let this recount go forward," because you would have been adamantly opposed to it if Donald Trump had lost the election and Hillary Clinton won, and he was doing what she is doing right now.

COONS: Let's be clear now. What we were concerned what Donald Trump might do if he had lost the election was refuse to accept the results and challenge them not the way Jill Stein is doing, within the boundaries of the law, within the time and the process that's set out in state law in these three states, but by simply refusing to accept the results and, by inciting his supporters around the country, to refuse to accept them.

BLITZER: You accept -- he got 306 electoral votes. You need 270. He got 306. She only got 232. So he won. He's going to be the president of the United States.

COONS: That's right.

BLITZER: And so this whole notion of a recount, you say, you know, let them go forward, spend millions and millions of dollars. Let these state workers in these three states work day and night to get it done by the deadline. You say that's OK with you?

COONS: That's following the law. That's following our electoral process. That not undermining confidence in the entire election across the country by spreading false rumors, as President-elect Trump is.

BLITZER: But you've accepted the results.

COONS: That's right.

BLITZER: You know that Donald Trump is going to be the next president of the United States?

COONS: That's right. I've got plans for the inauguration, and I'm looking forward to finding ways that we can work across the aisle in the next Congress.

BLITZER: With a Republican majority in the Senate, a Republican majority in the House, a Republican in the White House, you know, you guys are going to have a lot of problems right now.

COONS: We're going to have a lot of challenges and a lot of opportunities. And I frankly think President-elect Trump should spend less time tweeting and more time focusing on putting together a cabinet that will allow us to work in a positive and constructive way, learning the lessons of this campaign and moving forward.

I do think Secretary Clinton won the popular vote, and I do think that Donald Trump won the Electoral College. And I think that means that there isn't a strong mandate for Donald Trump. And I'm encouraged if he is seriously considering nominees for secretary of state like Governor Romney, who were critics of -- during the course of the campaign. And I'm hopeful that we might see other candidates emerge for secretary of state.

BLITZER: You could vote to confirm Governor Romney. Is that what you're saying?

COONS: I would seriously look at his record. But he's someone with senior leadership experience. Obviously, Chairman Corker is also, although a very conservative Republican, someone with whom I've worked well in the Senate.

BLITZER: What about Rudy Giuliani?

COONS: I don't know Mayor Giuliani. His leadership of the city of New York and his experience obviously would commend him. But I think he has some potential conflicts of interest in his consulting practice over recent years, and I do think he would face a tougher confirmation fight.

BLITZER: Senator Coons, thanks so much for joining us.

COONS: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Just ahead, the breaking news on the Ohio State attacker, what his choice of weapons may reveal about possible ties to terrorism.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:32:56] BLITZER: The breaking news tonight: federal law enforcement sources are telling CNN that the man who ran down and slashed pedestrians in Ohio State University apparently posted grievances on social media about attacks on Muslims.

Abdul Razak Ali Ratan was shot and killed by campus police, ending his rampage. Investigators are looking for possible ties he may have had to terrorism.

Let's bring in our experts. Shimon Prokupecz, you've been doing some extensive reporting. What else are you learning about this suspect?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: So what we know about, we know more -- a lot more about him in terms of his family, his several siblings. His mother has spoken to investigators. She's indicated that she didn't see any signs that he was having any problems, except some issues at school. He was having some trouble with grades.

But outside of that, the mother has told investigators and has told other people within the community that she saw no signs of anything, of any kind of trouble.

What we're also learning is that he made these Facebook postings. And investigators have been poring over it. It's still a little Muddled, they're saying. They can't directly say right now that this was terrorism, because these postings don't necessarily make this an act of terror. But certainly, they're concerned about it, and there's still a lot more work to do.

BLITZER: Because one of the most recent posts on Facebook showed that he apparently had grievances about attacks on Muslims.

PROKUPECZ: Yes, that's exactly right. And so that has them definitely concerned that this may have been some sort of act of terrorism.

The other thing is the way this attack was conducted.

The other thing that they're doing is obviously they're going through all the video. There's some stuff in the car. They're not telling us what it is, but that has definitely got them very interested, and so they're waiting for subpoenas and search warms to try to go through that stuff. BLITZER: Phil Mudd, the student newspaper at Ohio State University,

"The Lantern," published an interview with him back in August in which he said, "I don't know where to pray. I wanted to pray in the open, but I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media. I'm a Muslim. It's not what the media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don't know what they are going to think, what's going to happen."

[18:40:01] What's your analysis of what happened?

MUDD: My analysis is that, when we look at these pieces of information, these bits and pieces, the American people are going to be moving at 75 miles per hour to determine why somebody did this. The investigative process is going to be moving at 20 miles per hour. That is overnight, tomorrow, you're going to talk to people about what was motivating him over the course of months.

Maybe there was a transition to college that was difficult. He might have been looking to ISIS to validate committing an act of violence. But what I'm seeing in these bits of information is an effort to take them and create a collage where there is none yet. We have about four pieces of a 1,000-piece puzzle. And as an investigator, I would resist the push to move at 70 miles per hour. You can't do that in the investigative seat, Wolf.

BLITZER: Paul Cruickshank, we've seen other terror incidents. We don't know this is a terror incident. But we've seen other terror incidents where a vehicle was used to kill people. That's becoming increasingly more common.

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Exactly right, becoming more common, because it works. We saw 86 people being killed in that dreadful terrorist attack in Nice over the summer in July, where an ISIS-inspired terrorist plowed into all those people on the Promenade des Anglais.

There have been vehicle attacks which have killed soldiers in the United Kingdom, in Canada. And as you've noted, in Israel over the last year, there have been more than 30 vehicle attacks. That's more than gun attacks and bomb attacks put together.

ISIS and al Qaeda are calling for these kinds of attacks. Just two weeks ago, ISIS put out, in their English-language magazine, a clarion call for exactly the kind of attack we saw play out today, calling for somebody to get into a vehicle, to ram into people, and then after they've maximized the amount of deaths in that attack, then to get out of the vehicle and to carry on with either a gun or a knife.

BLITZER: Tom Fuentes, take us behind the scenes. What's the FBI doing right now?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: They're trying to determine all of what we're talking about, what was his motive and is this someone that's just a disturbed young man under stress at school, or is there more to this? And they'll know more from not only talking to family and friends and co-students but also from his websites that he visited and other postings on social media. So there's still -- as Phil mentioned, there is still a lot more to learn about this young man.

BLITZER: And they're going to learn it, I'm sure, very, very quickly. Everyone, stand by. There's more breaking news we're following. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:47:07] BLITZER: We're following breaking news on the attack at Ohio State University as investigators look into the possibility of terrorism. CNN has learned the assailant's Facebook page, included grievances about attacks on Muslims.

Meanwhile, there's also growing outrage tonight over Donald Trump's baseless claim that voter fraud cost him the popular vote.

Let's dig into all of this with our political team.

And, Manu, he tweeted this, he tweeted, "In addition to winning Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." No evidence that millions of people voted illegally.

He also said there was serious fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire, and California, "Serious fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California. So, why isn't the meeting reporting on this serious bias? Big problem."

Even some of his own supporters are saying he's undermining the legitimacy of his own big win. He's going to be the next president of the United States.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And it seems like he's reengaging in these petty back and forth he did in the campaign trail when he should be focusing on preparing for the transition, putting together his cabinet, thinking about the first 100 days of his agenda. That's what I'm hearing from his own allies on Capitol Hill.

I talked to some of them, including Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who said to me, there's no strong evidence of any sort of voter fraud that happened. And why Donald Trump is raising this is a question that only Donald Trump can answer. But it was clearly evident on the transition team call this morning, even Donald Trump's spokesman couldn't provide any sort of evidence of voter fraud claims. It just seems to be another distraction caused by his use of social media.

BLITZER: Rebecca, there could be some isolated incidents, but millions of voters that voted illegally?

REBECCA BERG, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Sure. And I think the tell here, Wolf, is his team wouldn't address this on the call this morning, they didn't say whether he would urge the Justice Department to the take action once he's sworn in. But his campaign's attorneys aren't taking action. They're not calling for audits at the state level. They're not calling for recounts and they actually dismissed Jill Stein's recount in Wisconsin as completely frivolous, as a fund-raising ploy. So, I doubt, I'm skeptical that he's serious about this.

BLITZER: He should just say I won the election, free and fair election. Let's move on.

DAVID SWERDLICK, ASSISTANT EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, he risks looking petty, and risks looking like he hasn't yet stepped into the shoes of the office that he won. He's got to sort of reel that in before inauguration.

BLITZER: David, it's also interesting, this public battle over Mitt Romney, whether or not he should be the next secretary of state. They're going to have dinner again tomorrow night, second time in nine days that Donald Trump, the president-elect will meet with Mitt Romney. Some of Donald Trump's top aides are publicly saying this guy doesn't deserve it based on what he said during the campaign.

SWERDLICK: Yes, I mean, it strikes that normal political discourse, you would think that top aides like Kellyanne Conway, this would be a faux pas to go out in public and talk about the deliberations behind the scenes.

[18:50:08] There were times during the campaign though campaign senior staff said they were essentially talking to president-elect Trump, then-candidate Trump through the media as a way to get a message across to them.

Wolf, I think this to a certain degree is less about Republican Party unity even though they may be characterizing it that way, and more about this idea of, look, President-elect Trump has to make a decision about which candidate he thinks the best to run his arguably most important department, regardless of what the political fallout can be.

BLITZER: It is pretty extraordinary, Rebecca.

BERG: It is. I mean, Donald Trump has done this throughout the campaign process, now throughout the transition. This is totally in character for him, but when you think of this in the historical context of the presidency and presidential transitions, obviously the Twitter element is new, but we've had television, we've never had aides talking to candidates and presidents through the media before like this.

BLITZER: All right. Guys, thanks very much.

We're getting more breaking news. We're following that.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:55:44] BLITZER: Tonight, we're learning more about president- elect Donald Trump's efforts to make go on a campaign process. His transition team is in talks with U.S. firm Carrier aimed at derailing plans to move hundreds of jobs from Indiana to Mexico. CNN's Martin Savidge is joining us from Indianapolis right now.

Martin, the big question, can Trump convince Carrier to make a deal?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a question many are asking tonight, Wolf. You know, when he was running, he made a big deal about the Carrier's plan to move down to Mexico. He said that wouldn't happen if he were president. Now, he's president-elect and appears to be trying to make good on a campaign promise.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE (voice-over): A source with knowledge of the communication between Carrier and the Trump administration tells CNN they have moved beyond discussion to actual negotiations. But the source stopped short of saying what exactly has been negotiated.

At Sully's Bar and Grill just across from the carrier plant in chili's on lunch menu serve with heavy side of skepticism.

CIERA TURNER, CARRIER EMPLOYEE: I will believe it when I see it.

SAVIDGE: Carrier workers just out the morning shift say Trump's Thanksgiving Day tweet is the talk of the plant and beyond.

MARGARET WILKERSON, CARRIER EMPLOYEE: (INAUDIBLE) social media.

SAVIDGE: "Working hard, even on Thanksgiving, trying to get Carrier A.C. Company to stay in U.S.," Trump posted, referring to the heating and cooling giant's plans to shut down this Indianapolis factory, moving it, along with close to 2,000 jobs, to Mexico.

"Making progress," Trump went on. "Will know soon."

But Carrier' response also on Twitter was less optimistic. "Had discussions with the incoming administration," it said. "Nothing to announce at this time."

If negotiations have become serious, there's one group that expects to be hearing about them, United Steelworkers Local 1999. It represents close to 1,400 of the factory's workers.

(on camera): Have you heard of any negotiations or discussions? Have you heard anything beyond the tweet?

CHUCK JONES, PRESIDENT, UNITED STEELWORKERS LOCAL 1999: No. We haven't heard from Carrier or the Trump people concerning that. Just tweet only.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Local president Chuck Jones says he was shocked by Trump's tweet. And tells me if a deal can be reached, he expects his members will be asked for concessions.

(on camera): Would the union be flexible?

JONES: What our goal is, and always has been, to try to save 1,400 people's jobs.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): When it comes to negotiating with Carrier, Jones knows a thing or two and suggests that Trump hit the company right where it hurts -- defense contracts.

In 2014, alone, Carrier's parent company, United Technologies, won $3.39 billion worth of government contracts, working on everything from fighter jets to missile defense systems.

JONES: If he's got a card to play, it would be something to the extent of, hey, you know, if you move these jobs to Monterey, Mexico, we're going to take a hard stand on you getting anymore military contracts.

SAVIDGE (on camera): You think that could get their attention?

JONES: I would think it would get their attention, yeah, because you're talking about B's, billions.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): But Carrier worker Edward Conway says he's not getting his hopes up. When it becomes to Carrier, he said that boat has already sailed.

EDWARD CONWAY, CARRIER EMPLOYEE: It's like a cruise or a big ship that makes a turn, you know, it's not going to be able to stop in the middle of the turn, you know, so I can't see it happening.

SAVIDGE: It's not that folks here are pessimists, it's that the news nine months ago that their jobs were leaving was so painful to so many, they're afraid to hope.

WILKERSON: You know, because you got a lot of people -- I mean, this I going to change everybody, not just me, not her, not -- you know, everybody. Everybody's life is going to change. You know? So if he does it, kudos to him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: As far as the Trump side of these negotiations, those are actually said to be head up by the vice president-elect, Mike Pence, which makes perfect sense. He is, after all, the current governor of Indiana -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Makes sense indeed.

All right. Thanks very much, Martin Savidge, in Indianapolis.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.